This season’s January transfer window did not disappoint as the Gods of football once again produced some tasty transfer deals to stir up the ongoing drama this campaign.
Deals for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Philippe Coutinho, Alexis Sanchez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang understandably stole this month’s headlines in the Premier League.
But what was going on elsewhere on the continent? Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting deals from Europe’s other top leagues that you may have missed.
8. Sandro Wagner
From: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
To: FC Bayern Munich
Germany forward Sandro Wagner came full circle upon the completion of his return to boyhood club Bayern, as the striker re-signed for the club who had let him go a decade earlier.
Wagner made four Bundesliga appearances for the Bavarians during the 2007/08 season, before stints at MSV Duisburg, Werder Bremen, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Hertha Berlin, Darmstadt 98 and finally 1899 Hoffenheim – where Wagner earned a place in Germany’s national side.
His goalscoring antics triggered former employers Bayern to make a move to secure their former youth teamer as backup to Robert Lewandowski.
7. Lassana Diarra
From: Free Agent
To: Paris Saint-Germain
Fee: Free Transfer
Perhaps one of the stranger January deals involves Ligue 1 heavyweights PSG swooping for former Chelsea, Arsenal, Portsmouth and Real Madrid midfield anchor Lassana Diarra.
The 32-year-old was unattached following the termination of his contract with UAE Pro-League club Al Jazira, prompting Unai Emery to secure the services of the well-travelled Frenchman on a free transfer, with FFP regulations looming over the French capital.
Brazilian Rafinha finally ended his seven-year stint in Catalonia with a move to Italian giants Inter.
The playmaker had long been linked with a move away from Barça having found consistent game time hard to come by at the Nou Camp, with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool reportedly showing an interest.
Inter, however, won the race for his signature in a deal which involves a €35m option to buy the player permanently at the end of the season.
5. Iñigo Martinez
From: Real Sociedad
To: Athletic Bilbao
Without doubt the window’s most controversial move saw Real Sociedad stalwart Ińigo Martinez cross the Basque-divide to sign for bitter rivals Athletic Club.
Athletic triggered the central defender’s €32m release clause following the sale of Aymeric Laporte to Manchester City sparking outrange among Sociedad fans who have highlighted the hypocrisy of the move with Martinez previously stating on record that he would never sign for a rival.
Real Sociedad have even offered change shirts with Martinez’s named printed on the back for free to irate fans.
4. Pietro Pellegri
Monaco won the hotly anticipated race for the signature of Italian wonderkid Pietro Pellegri ahead of Italian champions Juventus.
The 16-year-old had been the subject of interest from a host of Europe’s top clubs – including Arsenal – before a January tussle ensued between Monaco and the Old Lady.
The Ligue 1 holders eventually secured a deal for Pellegri with one eye on the future, splashing €25m on the teenage star who has just 10 first team appearances to his name thus far in his career.
3. Marc Bartra
From: Borussia Dortmund
To: Real Betis
Spanish central defender Marc Bartra made a return to his homeland after sealing a deal with La Liga side Real Betis.
As a graduate of the famous La Masia, Bartra appeared 59 times in Spain’s top flight for Barcelona between 2010 and 2016 before switching to the Bundesliga with a move to Dortmund.
After just one full season in Germany, Bartra now clearly sees his long-term future in Spain with Betis having signed a five-and-a-half year deal at the Estadio Benito Villamarín.
2. Robin van Persie
Fee: Free Transfer
Former Arsenal and Manchester United forward RVP made an emotional return to where it all began for him as a professional; re-signing for Dutch champions Feyenoord.
The 34-year-old agreed to terminate his contract with Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahçe in order to secure a return to his former club where he previously bagged 22 goals as a teenager between 2001 and 2004.
From: Las Palmas
To: Atletico Madrid
Fee: Expiration of Loan
And finally, a deal which had already been agreed during the summer window eventually came into fruition last month.
Atletico‘s capture of Vitolo from Sevilla in July had to be put on hold until the new year due to the club’s transfer ban, meaning the winger was sent out on loan to former club Las Palmas for the opening half of the season.
Vitolo has appeared on nine occasions in La Liga so far this season – scoring once – and will now be looking forward to the belated beginning of his career in the Spanish capital with Atléti.